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CFO Survey: Most Hit by Hackers Otherwise Optimistic

Idea posted: July 2015
  • Strategy
  • Finance
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Operations

New research from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business global survey of CFOs reveals that 80% of companies have been hacked. Small and medium-sized businesses have been the hardest hit. Other results from the CFO survey include expectations of wage hikes and the impact of the strong U.S. dollar on U.S. exports.

Idea #534
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Cyber-Attack Catastrophe: Lessons from a Plausible Risk Scenario

Idea posted: February 2015
  • Strategy
  • Finance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Operations

The Centre for Risk Studies at Cambridge University has developed a detailed risk scenario describing a slow-burning cyber attack on a fictional software developer that has global consequences. The improbable but plausible scenario, based on a variety of real (but smaller) cases, is intended as a ‘stress test’ for organizations and public policy bodies and offers lessons in how to mitigate the impact of such attacks.

Idea #491
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How Peers Influence Ethics: Good Eggs and Bad Apples

Idea posted: June 2014
  • CSR & Governance
  • Finance

A controlled experiment reveals that managers ‘adjust’ their ethics based on the behaviour they witness from peers. If a peer is honest, the observing manager becomes a little more honest, on average. If a peer is dishonest, the observing manager can become significantly more dishonest. 

Idea #386
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The Arctic Expedition - the Crow’s Nest. Cover illustration (detail) for The Graphic, May 1875, by Samuel Edmund Waller

Does Your Organization Need a Chief External Officer?

Idea posted: April 2014
  • CSR & Governance
  • Finance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Marketing
  • Operations

Many large organizations face challenges in managing the demands of external non-market environments — political and social aspects of their working environment. This Idea suggests the creation of a chief external officer and gives some guidance on how to ensure their success.

Idea #362
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The Virgin of Chancellor Rolin (detail), van Eyck, 1435, Musee du Louvre, Paris. Nicholas Rolin was Chancellor to Philip the Good.

Rebuilding Reputation after a Serious Financial Restatement

Idea posted: January 2014
  • Strategy
  • Finance
  • Operations

In the wake of a serious financial restatement, how can companies repair their reputations and increase the value of their shares? According to this Idea, the answer may lie in focusing not just on investors but on stakeholders who are non-capital providers and can be viewed as ‘softer’ constituencies. 

Idea #313
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William Mark Felt, Sr. (1913-2008), A.K.A. ‘Deep Throat’. Felt, a former associated director of the FBI supplied Washington Post reporters Woodward and Bernstein with enough insider information to take down President Nixon after the Watergate scandal. (Source: CBS News)

Blowing the Whistle on Unethical Conduct: It Takes a Village

Idea posted: August 2013
  • CSR & Governance
  • Finance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Operations

Employees who want to report wrongdoing must overcome two fears: the fear of retaliation and the fear of futility (the fear of risking the enmity of boss and co-workers for nothing, because nothing is done). New research on whistleblowers confirms that the boss sets the initial ethical tone for the organization or unit, but also demonstrates that co-workers play an important role in either supporting or discouraging whistleblowing. The research shows that the interaction of the two factors — boss attitude and co-workers attitude — impacts an employee’s fear of retaliation. If either the

Idea #193
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Trust, Fraud and the Financial Markets

Idea posted: August 2013
  • CSR & Governance
  • Finance
  • Learning & Behaviour

Markets cannot function without relationships, and relationships cannot function without trust. But the mechanisms for building trust can be ‘faulty’. Bernard Madoff’s infamous Ponzi scheme, which ruined thousands of investors, depended on a series of ‘trust-producing’ factors that combined to conceal it from victims and the authorities. Understanding these mechanisms can help prevent similar frauds and abuses of trust.

Idea #195
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ENRON - Arthur Andersen witnesses testify at the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, Committee on Energy and Commerce House of Representatives (107th Congress) hearing on January 24, 2002 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

How to Recognize Managements With Something to Hide

Idea posted: July 2013
  • CSR & Governance
  • Finance
  • Operations

Is there a pattern to be found in the actions of managers trying to cover up their firm’s wrongdoings? According to this Idea, yes there is: they all tend to engage in the same sort of behaviours, such as exercising stock options more frequently, rarely changing the firm’s auditors, and more. An understanding and awareness of these behaviours can assist shareholders, regulators and other stakeholders notice failures and wrongdoings early and help address problems before disaster hits.

Idea #178
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 ENRON, 2010, Written by Lucy Prebble, Royal Court Theatre, London

Corporate Scandals: Causes and Cures

Idea posted: January 2013
  • CSR & Governance
  • Finance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Operations

US corporate scandals plagued the early 2000s, with Enron, Tyco, and WorldCom becoming notorious. The 2008 financial crisis bred Libor rate-fixing and other cases of serious misconduct. Loss-hiding at Japan’s Olympus Corporation was exposed in 2011. In 2013 Shell, BP, Statoil and others came under investigation by the EU Commission for supposed oil price rigging. Fined, sued, disgraced and sometimes collapsed the consequences for organizations can be dire. What preventive measures should be put in place to ensure organizations do not fall prey to such outcomes? 

Idea #085
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